people > places > things

She Who Gave Life

Jessie MaComment

I think about all the things I've experienced in life so far – growing up, school, dance, relationships, even trauma – there's already so much...

And in the grand scheme of things, it's only just the beginning.

By the time I'm ready to have children, then by the time they're ready to have grandchildren, I'll have twice or three times that much experience. 

It makes me wonder what my grandma was like before I entered her life. 

Was she always a giver?

Everyone thinks that they're special. 

Everyone likes to believe that they mean a little something extra to someone else.

But I know that I did, to my grandma. I know that she loved me especially.

We share the same birthday – decades apart, but check our birth certificates – November 20th.

I always liked to think of this coincidence as more than coincidence. Like it was a bond that was forged beyond our control.

She had always been inextricably, undeniably tied to my very existence.

She showed her love through giving. And her favorite thing to give was food.

I remember coming home from elementary school to rice and Vienna sausages, with strips of kimchi carefully laid out on the circumference of the plate.

Now that I think about it, there was so much intent involved in her preparation. She made it as easy as possible for us to eat. 

I stopped eating when I was 14. I was severely underweight, depressed, and had no appetite for food or for life.

This baffled her more than I could probably imagine. Why, when so many people are struggling to put food on the table, would I refuse the delicious feasts she loved preparing for me? That I had, for the rest of my life, previously devoured without a second thought?

Once I recovered, I made it a point to visit my grandma regularly. Hungry or not, I graciously, voraciously gobbled up whatever she cooked.

It was not a contrived act – she wanted to give, and I wanted to receive. And I wanted to show her how sorry I was for worrying her. I wanted to show her how determined I was to get better.

I wanted to let her love me the way she knew how.

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My grandma had the greenest thumbs I've ever seen. In her old house, she took pride in her beautiful front and back yards – fruits, vegetables, flowers full of life and promise.

We'd eat meals made from home grown veggies, pick aloe for our sunburns, and marvel at how those weird purple flowers could grow as tall as us.

When she moved and grew less able to tend, she kept only a small collection of plants in her patio.

I visited as often as I could, always with a mixed bouquet of flowers in hand. 

Only the tight, not-yet bloomed flowers, though.

She didn't like them for decoration; she liked watching them blossom.

She liked witnessing the infusion of life into something that was but a seed.

It makes my heart hurt trying to imagine how she much she loved watching me grow. 


Our days of birth. The fact that she literally gave birth to my mother, who gave birth to me. The way she fed me like it was her job to keep me alive. The careful hands that watered, nurtured, and rejoiced at growing plants.

She gave life. 

She gave all of us life. 


Naturally – as nature goes, life transitions to death.

But she is riiiiight here. 

And surprisingly for someone as forgetful as I am, I'm not worried about ever forgetting her.

She gave me life, after all.

I lived in her, as she lives in me. 

My mom, my uncles, and all of our cousins, her friends and neighbors.

She lives here now, in us.

And I know she wants to see us keep growing.

Roberto, Luke, and Makadi.

Jessie MaComment

R. & M. (& L.)

 

R.  L watermelon slush (no sugar)

I’ve seen Roberto at our store consistently since I started working there, and have always been intrigued.  In his usual athletic gear, sweat-drenched, with a look of accomplishment on his face, he parks his bike by the door and walks up to the register.  Today, instead of asking the typical and ambiguous “How’s it going? What can I get for you?, I said, "I’ll get your usuals ready- how many miles did you bike today?”  And he proceeded to give me some ridiculous number, which I was not shy about hiding my shock and amazement at.

The conversation carried on over to the blender area, then to the edge of the counter, and eventually to a table.  I was surprised by how welcoming he was of my peppering of questions, and how generously he shared his story. 

“I started cycling when my 15-year old son, Luke, passed away last year.  Luke was a miracle child- born with medical complications and battled with pulmonary hypertension all his life.  He used to come here a lot with his friends; it was like their regular hang-out spot.  I can still feel his presence whenever I come.

Luke was a nerd. (laughs) He was really, really into music.  A few weeks before he passed, he went to a… Babies? Crushing Babies? You would know more about these bands than me.. Anyways, some concert, and he was struggling to see the stage, and a girl, her name is Elizabeth, took his hand and led him to the front of the crowd.  He even got a picture with the band!  But anyways, a few days later, he went on his first (and only), date.  With this girl.  Here!  At that table. (points) I don’t think she thought anything of it, but it was a special experience to him. This was 2 or 3 days before he passed.  

I practice Baha'i faith, which is a relatively new religion.  It started up in the 19th century in Iran.  I believe in, love, and respect all religions; I’m everything- Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, everything, we’re all from the same God.  We believe that life progresses, after death, through death.  We all get a 2nd birth.  And Luke’s impact on others is how he continues to live on. 

Luke was very close with his brother, Dariush.  Now, Dar is really smart, really driven.  He graduated from Yale and now works for a YouTube company in LA.  But he’s hard on himself.. he would always be discouraged by his entry-level position on the team because started off just as a worker for the gaming division.  But Luke would always jokingly encourage him, saying "No, Dar, you’re the boss of the Gaming Station! You tha boss!”  Luke was always laughing.  Always laughing. It was actually pretty annoying. (laughs, himself) But that’s what we love about him.  Anyways, after Luke passed, Dar started getting back to back to back promotions.  He moved up the company quickly and now- he really IS the President of the Gaming Division!  That was Luke’s impact on Dar, and I know he is grateful to him for it. 

We’re all still receiving gifts from Luke.  My daughter, his sister, Gabby, just got married and is having her second daughter, due in December.  Her name will be “Valentina.” I know, beautiful, right?“

(His granddaughter, and soon to be older-sister of Valentina, Makadi, joins us.  She is 7 years old, in the 2nd grade, likes playing games on her iPad, and has, in a short conversation, touched and humbled me beyond words. But I’ll try to use them, anyway.)

 

Me: "So you’re going to be a sister soon! Are you excited?”

M: (timidly, almost a whisper) “Yes, I am.”

Me: “I’m excited for you, too. You’re going to be a great older sister.”

M: (a little louder) “Thank you.”
….. “Did you know Luke?”

Me: “I wish.. No, I never got to meet him. But I think I’m meeting him right now.”

M: (not whispering at all) “I’m excited for you!”

Me: “Me too.”

I asked her if she missed him. She said “Yes, but it’s okay, because I can still talk to him.”

“How do you talk to him?”

M: (whispering, again) “I write him secret letters.  No one knows, but he writes back.  He says he’s okay and that he misses me too.”

She goes back to her games as I quietly try to choke back tears.

I turn back to Roberto, “Can you tell me more about how you started biking?”

My family was always physically affectionate.  We hug and kiss often.  But a few months before Luke died, he was particularly affectionate.  Always asking for extra hugs.  I think.. I think he knew.  He knew his time was coming.  Anyways. I’ve always wanted to do Tai-Chi.  Something about it, the movement, and the philosophy, I find really.. I like it.  So I went to my first Tai-Chi class.  And that was the night that Luke died.  He passed away in his mother’s arms.  I haven’t been back to take another class.  I can’t.  I don’t think I will, again. 

A few weeks after Luke died, I developed a cough.  I’ve always had problems with my bronchial system, but this was chronic.  It lasted for months and was just getting worse and worse.  I felt really hopeless.  I would think to myself, "Maybe this is it. Maybe it’s my time to join him.”

I play racquetball with a few of my friends, but the parking at the UCSD gym is horrible. (It is.) So I thought, I should bike there!  So I went to a bike shop with my friend, looking to spend around $100 for my first bike.. and ended up with a $1,200 bike. (laughs) I mean, it was a good investment, but at the time I had no idea it was going to cost that much. 

At first, I couldn’t even go up Gilman hill without coughing up a storm.  I would cough and cough, and it got to the point where I was coughing up really disgusting stuff.  

And then it all went away. 

The cough was gone, and I could breathe and ride and live without the pain.

I completed the “Death Ride"  last year, and just did ”The 508“ 2 weeks ago.  I never would have thought I’d be doing stuff like this, at 60 years old.  I’m so happy with all the progress I’ve made, and my life in general.  And I know this is all Luke’s gift to me. 

This, all of this, I feel, was Luke’s gift to me.  And sharing his story, is my gift to you.  Live on, give on.

Dan Piedra, The Muse's Muse

Jessie MaComment

 

D.

Now, I’m not a big believer of fate or destiny or the like.  But the abundance of lucky coincidences within these past few weeks have been too perfect, that I'm forced to rethink my beliefs.  By simply doing the things I routinely do, I’ve been blessed with the meeting, presence, and lasting essence of so many wonderful souls.  It has to be something bigger making this all happen.

I volunteer for a program called READ/ San Diego (more on that in another post), but my position (Literacy Tutor) calls for me to meet with my student once a week at a library.  We usually meet on Thursdays, but both of our schedules this week didn’t allow for that- so we rescheduled to Tuesday.  Today.  But when I got to the library at our meeting time of 11 am, I found that they open at 12:30 pm on Tuesdays- so I called my student and we agreed to meet at a nearby Starbucks.  We finished up our lesson, and as I was walking out I ran into a delightful man by the name of Dan Piedra.

I noticed his sketches during my lesson, and was meaning to take a closer look when I came outside.  I asked him if I could take a photo of his work, to which he replied, “Of course!  And I’ll draw you too.  Do you have a few minutes?" 

I didn’t.  But I sat down anyway.  Naturally.

I was taken by surprise by how welcoming he was- usually, I’m the one to approach people and ask about their lives (hence this blog).  But he was asking me about my ethnicity, my family, my schooling, what I was doing there.. A small part of me was thinking, "Hold on, that’s my job!”  But I soon learned that these “interviews” can be enhanced tremendously by a more give-and-take style.  He would acknowledge my replies and reciprocate with so much more.  I couldn’t have been more thankful at how easily I got to learn about him.  Which is weird, considering I was physically immobile while speaking, trying not to break from my pose. 

Dan is from the Philippines, where his entire family resides.  His mother is deceased, but his father and siblings (2 brothers and 2 sisters), and the majority of his friends, are still there.  He moved here alone, and has been practicing art for 30 years.  All completely self-taught.  He’s the epitome of ‘charismatic’- a sweet talker, a charmer, an intuitive and caring person, who knows exactly what to say to his “models.”

 

Me: “Who was the favorite person you ever drew or painted?”

Dan: “…You! Of course! You are beautiful.”

Me: “You’re lying!  But thank you so much, I hope you’re making me look good..”

D: “I am, I am.  It’s easy because you pose like a professional.  You’re Korean, right?  You have the prettiest features.”

Me: “Oh stopppp.  No don’t.  Keep going.”

(laughs)

Me: “You are such a sweet talker.  Women must be all over you!”

D: “Well… I am single. I am looking for a woman to love, who will love me as much as I can love her.  Forever and ever.”

Me: “Whoever she ends up being will be a very lucky woman!”

I explained the idea of my blog before we started talking, and this is where he said:

D: “You can write that in there too.  Talented, passionate artist.  Looking for a woman to love and be loved by.”

Me: (laughs) “I will, don’t you worry.”

I told Dan about my dancing, and he asked me if I sang, as well. 

Me: “No, unfortunately, I can’t carry a tune to save my life.  But something tells me you can!”

D: “Oh yes, oh yes.  Do you like Elvis Presley?  I can do his songs.”

Me: “Oh yeah?  Sing!  Right now!”  

(all his friends laugh)

And he did.

>>VIDEO<<

Dan has been featured on TFC, a Philippino entertainment channel.  Here is aYouTube clip of his work as well.  Bob Filner, ex-mayor of San Diego, heard about Dan and personally wrote him a letter expressing thanks for being such a wonderful community member who contributes to the positive atmosphere of the city.  I’m not surprised- he is, no doubt, one of the warmest and most refreshing people I’ve had the pleasure of just sitting with. 

I left our conversation in a hurry, realizing how late I was to get to work.  Dan gave me my portrait, as a gift, and promised to contact me for several more sessions.

D: “We will do sketches!  Paintings!  Big, huge, oil paintings.  You will be my… what do you call it?  Muse!  You will be my muse, Jessie.”

Oh Dan.  You.  People like you.  Are my muse.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the sketch, the inspiration, and the ridiculous flattery that I soaked in like a sponge. 

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Looks like a cuter version me, right? 

Some of Dan’s other work:

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E.P.

Jessie MaComment

 

E. L earl grey milk tea w/ aloe jelly

E is actually one of my close friends, and was nice enough to sit down for a little interview with me.  We usually talk about love and relationships, (boy talk!) and have always found our stories relatable.  So I thought, maybe, others would be able to relate as well. 

“My last boyfriend was in high school.. so that was a while ago.  And the last person I was somewhat talking to turned out horribly.  So right now I’m working on the whole "being independent” thing.  Not relying on anyone else.  And to be honest, since I’ve been getting a lot of attention from guys! (This is just a part of being a single girl). But I think my standards have been raised.  Well, not necessarily raised, but when I see something in someone that will potentially hurt me, I just let it go.  Maybe I’m just still really hurt from the last guy, but I just don’t want to put my emotions in the hands of someone who won’t be careful with them.  It’s weird!  I used to be so boy-crazy.. but I’m more realistic, now.  Maybe a little jaded.  But I am, more than anything, content with myself, and more than willing to wait.  Wait for the right person, and wait for myself.“

On Albert, 3.

Jessie MaComment

Part I: The Facts

Part II: The Feelings

Part III:

It’s been one year since God took him back, but I’ve always dragged out my goodbyes. Truthfully, the loss hasn’t stopped sinking further in, and I’m surprised and strangely impressed at my own body’s capacity to continue loving someone while their absence carves new wounds in my heart with a ghostly blade. I call this knife “Missing You” and name each scar after why I needed him. ‘Heartache’ ‘Insecurity’ ‘Family’ and ‘Just Because’ decorate my insides. And that’s exactly how I would describe the loss of a loved one to someone who hasn’t yet experienced it- internal bleeding.

To anyone on the outside, it seems like a little girl crush that I should just get over. But the reason my love for Albert is so timeless, is because I feel like I’ve been through it all, albeit only on my end, with him. Ranges and categories of love have been condensed and zeroed in on this single human being: Obviously, I’ve idolized and crushed on him as the innocent middle schooler. I’ve resented and been bullied by him like a little sister. I’ve grown to appreciate him as a friend. I’ve respected and looked up to him as an adult. I guess you could say I’ve loved him for a lifetime. And this makes me smile. It makes me proud. It’s the best thing I’ve done to date.

Maybe some people’s effect on you truly is unchangeable. Time, distance, lack of contact, even something as formidable and seemingly definite as death, are but pathetic barriers in the face of a love like this. There is no competition for how I feel, a feeling that could never die.

Someone recently asked me what my past year would have been like if I hadn’t experienced this loss. A lot of big changes in my life have been a culmination of several small changes- and I’m sure others can relate. We only notice evolution in retrospect after collecting small differences along the way. But not in this case. Yes, losing a friend has created shifts in my every day. But no, I haven’t been oblivious to them and it didn’t take a year mark for me to be grateful for all the ways he’s helped. For 365 days, I’ve told him “Thank you,” so loudly in my heart that I know it breaks through the barrier between heaven and earth. I know you can hear me, and I know you’re saying, “You’re welcome… you brat.”

Albert’s time alive was abysmally short. Though ‘short’ is subjective and ‘time’ is an arbitrary concept, in our rational perspective, these are the facts: Our solar system is 13.8 billion years old. The statistical life span of a human averages 66.26 years, a comfortable median between the Mayfly’s 30 minutes and the Arctica Islandica clam’s 405 years. As 0.0000000000015 – 0.00000034% of all time, individual life on earth is a very delicate occasion. But whatever time range our lives break down to, no matter which way I analyzed and dissected life and death, I still couldn’t see Albert’s end as being anything but premature.

But life shouldn’t be measured by years alone, and each day I’m more confident and glad that Albert made damn good use of his. His effect on the world could span centuries and populations, if pictured outside of the construct of ‘time.’ And as much as it hurts, I thank God for being gracious enough to let the earth experience Albert for the time that we did.

The more exposed I am to suffering, and the more familiar I become with pain and sacrifice, the more I’m convicted that our ultimate purpose in life boils down to… each other. That’s it. Everything, every single thing in the universe is connected. Our bodies are made up from the same atoms that form the sun and stars, the moon, asteroids, and comets. We are not inhabitants of the universe. We are the universe. Albert is a part of you, you are a part of me, I am humbly and happily a brush stroke in God’s intricate design. Life is but a brief juncture in which our consciousness occupies a physical state– and it’d be short sighted to think that someone is gone just because they exist in a different realm. This is what Albert taught me, in life and death. While you have a body, take care of it. Take care of each other. Give. Forgive. Learn. Grow. Do as much as you can, while you can, with whatever you have. There is a bigger picture- trust in it. Be empowered by your role in it. In the end, we’re all made of stardust.

There are so many times when I wish I were a better writer, a better dancer, singer, artist, wished that I were more skilled in any area of expressive art in order to appropriately articulate how I feel. The frustration with my lack of talent is amplified any time I come across significant subject matter, a person, an idea, an event, that means a lot to me. I’ll know I’ll never be satisfied with how I communicate my thoughts to the public, especially about Albert.

But I never aspire to write beautifully. I don’t value flowery prose, extravagant phrases, poetry decorated with nuance and metaphors. All I strive be, is a truthful writer. And I’ve found that, when I write truthfully, it turns out beautiful. Because the truth is, that I’ve been blessed with very beautiful people to write about. An artist that takes credit for their work is disregarding the source of inspiration that actually created their art. We are but mediums. Portals. Messengers. Interpreters. Real art is in each other, in the world, in each interaction, big or small. And it’s up to us to discover that, then share it.

Thank you for having been, and continuing to be such a beautiful presence in my life. I will never not love you.

On Albert, 2.

Jessie MaComment

Last night, I was trying to explain to someone, looking for the words to describe what Albert meant to me, and the first thing I said was “He taught me everything I know about love.”

I said it without even fully understanding what I meant, yet it felt right. It felt perfect to summarize his role in my life. Thinking about him, and literally nothing else, for the past few days, and I can trace exactly why I feel this way.

When I was 12, I met Albert for the first time. I can’t list the infinite reasons I might’ve fallen for him, don’t need to. I just fell, so hard. I’ve never felt so completely enraptured by someone in my life. I was obsessed, possessed. I wanted to know everything about him, to be close to him, to mean something to him. The next few years were dedicated to just that. I found out he played trombone in marching band and I literally begged my mom to buy me a $900 trombone (a fucking trombone..) because I suddenly had this “burning passion” to play it. 7 am, 0 period, sitting next to him. Marching next to him in parades. Both content and dissatisfied with the 55 minutes I got to be 1.5 feet away from him. Of course he’d only joke around and tease me, as high school boys do, but it meant the world to me. The happiness so monumental from actions so small drove me insane. I wanted more. More more more of him, all of him.

I finally worked up the nerve to ask him to Sadies in 10th grade. We shopped for matching shirts and ate lunch. Took pictures and danced. I wish I could say that that sparked something more, but he only ever saw me as his “little sister.” Drove me insane.

I’m fuzzy on the timeline, but somehow, somewhere in those years, we ended up in my bed. I told him I wanted to lose my virginity to him. I loved him, (what I thought was love at the time. But who’s to say it’s not? It was, and still is.) and said “I want it to be you.” But even with the opportunity paired with raging teenage hormones, he couldn’t. “It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I care about you too much.” Rejected and hurt, young, and new to romance, I didn’t understand. But now I realize he loved me, he did, just not in the way that I loved him.

I moved on from my first crush, of course. But to me, he will always be “that boy.” He taught me everything about love, not because we had the perfect relationship, or a relationship at all, but because I knew from the day I went crazy for this guy, that this is how love is supposed to feel. I never once thought about the practicality or logistics of being with Albert. I never even really thought about being with him, in a relationship. All I thought about, all I wanted, was.. him.

Even after high school, even after he flew off to West Point, he never failed to remind me how much I’m worth, and how much deserve. Him refusing my body was the first time someone I loved put my well being in front of their little desires. He asked me to be his date 2 years ago to the West Point Ball in New York (he didn’t have a girlfriend at the time), but I couldn’t go because I was still in school. When I asked “Why me? Of all girls.” He told me that if he could choose 1 person to share that with, to show a good time to, to show off to his friends, it’d be me. Strictly platonic, but so lovely, nonetheless. He would always tell me, show me, simply exist to prove to me, that real love asks for nothing.

Albert taught me about sacrifice. I’d always ask him how he endured such vigorous training. The physical and mental demands of the military academy completely evaded me. But he never once questioned what he signed up to do. “I have to do it, so I just do it.” I felt so humbled, honored to call him my friend. Someone who serves without expectation. Someone who gives without taking. Someone who loves without needing. Someone I would be proud to measure up to be half as substantial as.

He would tell me about his flings, hookups, crushes. A part of me was and will always be jealous of the girls that had his attention in the way I never quite did. But I’d laugh at his stories (they were genuinely hilarious) and give sympathy for his headaches. Any girl he’d tell me about that didn’t like him back, I wanted to punch in the face. They have no idea who they could’ve had.

Albert,

Earlier today, your organs saved 6 lives. Giving til the end. I want to look up each of these 6 lucky survivors and tell them. Tell them who you were. Tell them how blessed they are. To be alive, to have a part of you keeping them alive.

“Your heart, is a heart of gold. It beats stronger and harder than anyone else’s on this earth. Treasure it, love it back.

Your lungs, they breathe the air of mountaintops, beach winds, every person whose breathe he took away. Inhale positivity, exhale negativity.

Your liver, honestly- sorry, might be a bit damaged from past excessive alcohol consumption, but it commemorates the celebration of life. Party while you can, I’m sure he won’t mind.

Your intestines, I won’t be surprised if you end up constipated, because Albert never gave a shit what other people thought. In a good way.

Your skin, is skin, that’s not meant to cover up burn wounds or be smooth and flawless. Your skin’s function is to touch. To touch and be felt.”

But I know what you’d say to me. You’d say that it doesn’t matter if these people know you or your story. It just matters that you were able to help. There is always an action, and a reaction. You never cared about people’s reactions, only of your own actions. True virtue, true sacrifice.

In the same way, I realize now that it doesn’t matter that you didn’t “love” love me. Because I know that I loved you. For the first time. And that became the definition, the model, the essence of what I now call “love” in my life.

Thank you, for teaching me. Everything. I know about love.

Albert, Part 1.

Jessie MaComment

Ever notice that, when you watch or listen to comedians, the "funniest" things they say, are simply just... things that are true? Things that make the audience furiously nod their heads in teary laughter and say "Oh my god, me too!" I think that's because the most humorous and relatable things are simply just.. true things. People are drawn to realness. Genuine things. Shamelessly themselves.. things.

This was Albert. He was so fearlessly and unapologetically "Albert," that you can judge him, be annoyed or angry with him, not understand him, but you couldn't help but love him. I haven't met a single person who disagrees. He was one of the most magnetic and attractive people I have ever met, simply because he was so effortlessly good at being "himself."

It's no secret that I had a crush on him when I was in middle school. I just saw someone so obnoxious and hard-headed yet silly and caring, someone who made me feel so special and loved, that I wanted to be close to him in any way possible. As a brother-figure, a father-figure, a friend, anything. I even asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance, despite the 2 year age difference (that is SUCH a big deal in high school). Even after I got over my crush (or maybe because I did), I saw so many things in him that I could truly respect and appreciate. Qualities that haven't changed, or grown even stronger and more salient throughout the years.

After he graduated high school and headed off to West Point, we kept in close contact, me, (of course) romanticizing the distance with hand-written letters, and him letting me know the exact dates he'll be back from wherever so we could catch up in person. Facebook chat and Skype actually felt like a disgraceful form of interaction with such a character like Albert. He was the first person I called when I broke up with my ex-boyfriend. "Suck it up Jessie. Stop crying. You know you're better than this." He was the first person that instilled a sense of self-worth and confidence in me when I was 12 years old, and at 22, the one I still found myself going back to. In a way, he introduced me to myself. A version of me that I liked, that I wanted to embody. He gave constant support. Reality checks. Tough love.

I think that's the perfect way to describe him, actually. "Tough love."

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Flos_angeles&id=9124976

I'm fortunate in that, in 22 years, I've never experienced the loss of anyone this close to me. But I feel nothing could possibly prepare one for something like this. I feel like the world should stop. I want to wipe the smiles off strangers. I want to stop clocks, press 'pause' on my day. The fact that "life goes on" makes me more outraged than comforted. I try to pray but I'm filled with disbelief. "God, please, you're making a big mistake. The world needs more people like Albert, not less. The world needs Albert. I need Albert."

I've been looking through our old conversations and am even more amazed at the person you are. "A life of selflessness lasts an eternity." And that's the life you lived. You will always remain in my thoughts and prayers. You are loved and missed. You are, are, "are," not "were," one hell of a human being.

RIP 1LT Albert Song, my hero.